We’ll come at this question in two ways. We’ll begin by reading what other writers and scholars have had to say about how intellectual work is changing as we move from a print to a digital culture. This reading will offer us a historical and theoretical context for a second, more hands-on approach to the question of writing in a digital age. Over the course of the semester I’ll ask you to experiment with two modes of digital writing: (1) contributing to a collaborative class blog, and (2) composing a digital essay that joins writing with images, video, and/or audio. As you work on these projects, we’ll try to see what kinds of advice about writing transfer from the page to the screen and what don’t, what new possibilities are opened up by digital writing and what new constraints are imposed.
I’m interested in what it means to be a writer in a culture in which so much of our reading is done onscreen. I will thus keep the focus of this course resolutely on writing—rather than, say, on composing in video or audio—but on writing in an environment saturated with images, links, videos, and sound files.
This course requires no technical expertise, but it does assume an avid interest in the actual work of writing. It is the sort of course that rewards both imagination and consistent, thoughtful effort; I’ll ask you to keep up a steady pace of work throughout the semester. Good luck! I look forward to working with you!